The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will soon determine when to start spring burning restrictions. This year, with little snowpack and an early start to spring, restrictions are likely to take effect earlier, maybe as soon as next week.
The DNR restricts burning shortly after snow melt when exposed dead grass and brush can ignite easily and burn quickly. The restrictions normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs.
The spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the numbers and sizes of accidental fires, said Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor.
Fire danger can vary greatly from one part of the state to another. Locally determining when the restrictions take effect enables the DNR to restrict burning in areas where fire risk is elevated.
Restrictions mean the state will not issue burning permits for burning brush or yard waste. Debris burning is especially dangerous during April and May, when most wildfires occur in Minnesota.
Residents may need to find alternatives to burning or wait until after green-up when it is safer to burn. Prior to burning, the DNR urges people to check the statewide fire danger and burning permit restrictions at www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html.
Finally, the DNR notes that many local areas, counties or municipalities have specific burning regulations or restrictions. Residents should check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.